Thursday, August 25, 2011


             AT HARRAH’S TUESDAY

By Doc Lawrence

Queen Of Southern Cuisine With Doc At Harrah's
CHEROKEE, NC--America’s favorite Southern cook, two-time Emmy winner and Food Network cooking superstar Paula Deen, will be meeting fans in person at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in the lobby area outside her acclaimed restaurant, Paula Deen's Kitchen. With her usual warmth and contagious smile, Paula will sign autographs and be available for photo opportunities this Tuesday, August 30 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Paula Deen’s Kitchen is a full-service, 404-seat restaurant serving a la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner. Decorated in a style reminiscent of Savannah, the beautiful restaurant is “all about wonderful food with Southern hospitality,” said Ms. Deen. For dinner, don’t dare miss the wedge iceberg lettuce blue cheese and bacon salad, a Paula Deen signature dish, and Paula’s meat loaf with a side of incomparable collard greens. The magic with collard greens is in the seasoning and the pot likker, a traditional folk tonic for Southerners.

Be there early to meet Paula, have dinner and then walk over to the casino. After a good night’s sleep in the luxury hotel, meet me for breakfast the next morning at Paula Deen’s Kitchen. I always order “The Kitchen Sink,” an assemblage of pancakes, maple syrup, eggs, country sausage and ham, hot biscuits and gravy along with endless cups of good coffee.

Harrah's Cherokee Casino & Hotel is an enterprise of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. The Casino and Hotel's  $633 million expansion is the largest hospitality development project underway in the Southeast and one of the largest in the U.S. It is an easy drive from Atlanta.

Tailgating 2011 Begins. Recipes, Photos and More:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011



                APPLES AND ANGELS

By Doc Lawrence

HENDERSONVILLE, NC—Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, this fabled city offers some of the best of today’s North Carolina adventures while maintaining strong ties to deep heritage and rich tradition. Hendersonville, an easy drive from large cities like Atlanta, is a top center for arts and crafts, local farm products, history, the live stage and dining of every style. But, it’s late summer and that means apple harvest here.

The North Carolina Apple Festival is held annually over Labor Day holiday weekend in Hendersonville. It has been Western North Carolina’s premier family festival for 65 years.

Start time is September 2 with four days of fun including one of the most best known street fairs in the Carolinas with just picked apples, handmade quilts and folk art, food and free entertainment at the historic courthouse on Hendersonville’s beautiful Main Street

The apple has been called the loveliest of all fruits. It is also one of the most important agricultural crops grown in bucolic Henderson County.  During a normal year it brings in an average income of $22 million dollars or more. Growing apples has been part of Henderson County's culture and heritage since the mid 1700s. Today there are approximately 200 apple growers here and Henderson County grows 65% of all apples in North Carolina. 

The Apple Festival’s non-stop entertainment throughout the festival is presented on a professional stage in front of the historic Courthouse, beginning Friday with the traditional and classical big band music of the Buddy K Big Band. If you love the music of Duke Ellington, Les Brown, Count Basie, Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey, put on your dancing shoes and swing.

Saturday features Steve Weams and The Caribbean Cowboys Band. For over 20 years they have provided wildly popular music and have a huge fan base. Following them are The Mighty Kicks! Ranked among the top echelon of entertainment in the South, it’s non-stop choreography, non-stop music and non-stop energy

Sunday is all day gospel followed in the evening by Still Cruzin', a dynamic rhythm section and an electrifying brass segment.  The sweet soul and Motown Revue of The Legacy closes out this year’s festival in grand style.

When you aren’t dancing, eating apple turnovers or dining in Hendersonville’s variety of outstanding restaurants, take time to visit a Connemara, home of America’s poet Laureate Carl Sandburg and a national shrine. Your soul will be replenished walking through the beautiful home and lovely grounds. Next-door is the fabled Flat Rock Playhouse, the state theatre of North Carolina with shows equal to Broadway. And about a block or so up the road is Saint John’s in the Wilderness, one of America’s loveliest and oldest churches with a church graveyard that reads like “who’s who” in Southern history.

The weather this time of year in Hendersonville is divine. With the French Broad and Green Rivers close to town, the fishing’s good. And the air is clean all the time.

Hendersonville’s Oakdale cemetery is a top attraction. Bring a camera. The white marble angel inspired the title of Thomas Wolfe’s “Look Homeward Angel.”

Tailgating recipes and photos from readers will be prominently featured when football season kicks off and the Atlanta Braves compete in the post-season championship series. Submission details:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011




By Doc Lawrence

ATLANTA--This is where you learn to laugh again, or stand in awe of something reaching out from the sky. An alligator is flying, spewing fire from its mouth. Or, a bucolic scene speaks symbolically of things peaceful. Men and women, some from places you’ve never heard of, have their art works on display here in this huge exhibition hall just outside Atlanta, hoping to make a buck while making a new collector happy.

It’s Folk Fest 2011, the world’s largest folk art event, now celebrating many years of roaring success. Folk art is what this gathering is all about. These are the artists, wood carvers and sculptors who paint based on memories or inspiration from mysterious voices. You’ll find many reasons they create, but the common thread is that they are the outlaws of the art world. No lessons, no big promotions or agencies putting out the word on them. Just self taught men and women, mostly from the Deep South, who can tell a story through the power of their hands and imaginations.

“These artists,” said founder Steve Slotin,” do not seek out the art world. The art world seeks them. Everything here is produced by untrained people who draw on their culture and experiences in an isolated world; made with a true, untutored, creative passion. It’s raw, expressive, unconventional, nonconforming, genuine and truly original. Artistically acclaimed acceptance has caused this art form to blossom.”

The existence of this grass-roots art is threatened by the inevitable urbanization and population of formerly rural areas. Folk Fest serves to celebrate these artists, bring their works of art together, and share with the public the experience of a culture whose roots may soon disappear.

Join me here this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, August 19- 21, and we’ll meet some of the greats like Chris Clark of Birmingham, Missionary Mary Proctor and O. L. Samuels from Tallahassee, Lorenzo Scott, who lives in Atlanta and Rabun County’s spectacular Eric Legee. And don’t forget to bring the kids and your camera. This is Georgia’s best family affair, as much fun as a Braves game.

Folk Fest 2011

North Atlanta Trade Center
1700 Jeurgens Court
Norcross, Georgia 30093

IMPORTANT- Send those recipes and photos for Tailgating:

Monday, August 15, 2011



By Doc Lawrence

The Reverend Howard Finster, the famous folk artist, told me on his porch one day that, yes, Elvis was dead, but “his soul isn’t rested.” Elaborating, the country preacher who gained enough fame to do album covers for R.E.M. and appear on The Tonight Show said that Elvis died before he completed God’s mission.

I have one of Finster’s paintings of the King-he did many- called “Winged Elvis.” Signed and dated July 2, 1982, it depicts a young farm boy with a straw hat in coveralls. Inscribed near the left knee is this: “Elvis at age 3, was an angel to me.” The painting goes with me everywhere. It brings a peace that I am unable to describe. But, I trusted and loved Reverend Finster and know he saw things that eluded the rest of us.

As a young kid growing up in Atlanta, I saw Elvis twice. I even met him in a hotel lobby and he was very approachable. He was talking to a beautiful girl but greeted me when I said hello and took a moment to chat. We laughed and for a couple of minutes, we were almost friends A few hours later, he took the stage across the street in Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox Theater, and everything in my life forever changed. For the better.

I was no longer just another Southern kid. I was an amalgamation of accents, rhythms, harmonies, races, styles, languages, woes, defeats and victories, love and despair that added up to an identity. The young man on the stage sang, and I sang. He laughed and made me laugh. He moved like no man ever did before and he sang songs that made me and those two thousand girls in the theater feel good.

Soon, I bought a Martin guitar with cash from my Atlanta Journal paper route, learned a few chord progressions and begin playing and singing along with records my mother brought home from work that had SUN on the label. Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Carl Perkins. Local stations quickly banned “Baby Let’s Play House,” but you heard it loud in my house every day.

Off to college in Florida. I discovered that many classmates had similar experiences and soon a decent band was formed. We rocked the fraternity and sorority houses of the Deep South, played in honk-tonks in places like Thomasville, Albany, Douglas, Gainesville, Port St. Joe, Bainbridge and wherever we could make a buck. Even some officer’s clubs on military bases.

Graduation, marriage, and Vietnam ended the band and best era of my baby days.

Long ago, on August 16, the mother who brought home all those records, called me and said Elvis had died. I turned the radio on and heard “How Great Thou Art,” by Elvis and the Jordanairres, confirming the tragedy.

There’s still a little of Elvis in me, the part that laughs, cries, accepts, creates and when riled, can be defiant. It’s also that important part that says “thank you” to helpful strangers. I remember Elvis much like a song I heard after his death:

No one sings a love song like you do,
No body else can make me sing along.
No one else can make me feel
That things are right,
When I know they’re wrong.
No body sings a love song quite like you.

More articles at

Wednesday, August 10, 2011




By Doc Lawrence

STONE MOUNTAIN, GA--A new and very original Civil War monument will be unveiled in this incredibly beautiful village just outside Atlanta in a few days. The story is captivating. The monument, “Sherman’s Neckties,” location in the village of Stone Mountain marks the approximate place where General William T. Sherman’s “March to the Sea,” actually started, giving it added importance to historians and tourists now and in the future. From here, this part of the Civil War became a military campaign of total destruction and more than one observer said it was also the beginning of modern warfare.

Around Midnight on July 20, 1864, two days before the Battle of Atlanta, Sherman published an order mandating the heating and twisting of rails along the designated railroad tracks preventing rail transportation during the war. The red-hot rails were bent around trees and telegraph poles, and coined by soldiers and journalists as “Sherman’s Neckties.”

The impressive monument was an effort from the City of Stone Mountain’s Civil War Committee chaired by noted author and prominent civic leader, Dr. George D. N. Coletti. Dr. Coletti’s acclaimed historic novel, Stone Mountain: The Granite Sentinel tells a compelling story about life, death, suffering and survival during the tumultuous war years in Georgia and adds greatly to an understanding of the impact of this war on women, children, refugees and soldiers caught in the tragedy.

 A state-of the art brochure, City of Stone Mountain Civil War Sesquicentennial 1861-1865, is highly useful for visitors. Complete with photos, stories and maps, everything is designed to make the tourism experience here interesting and educational as the nation observes the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Copies are available at the dedication ceremonies.

The story will get much better during the public dedication ceremonies scheduled for August 16, 2011 at 9 a.m. Dignitaries with join local officials including Stone Mountain’s Mayor and Council members, clergy, historians, media and descendants of the Civil War still residing in one of America’s most historic communities.

Hovering over the “Sherman’s Neckties” monument and the dedication ceremonies is Georgia’s inland Gibraltar, Stone Mountain. Drawing over 5 million visitors each year, the mountain and vast park features the enormous Civil War carving, plus museums, Indian trails, outdoor recreation and of course, a stunning view of Atlanta from the mountain top that will steal your breath.

I’ll see you at the dedication on August 16, and introduce you to some fascinating people. Walk with me along the historic streets, view beautiful homes, the granite railroad depot, the hauntingly beautiful Confederate cemetery and meet some mighty friendly people, Georgia’s finest ambassadors of Southern hospitality.

Stone Mountain: The Granite Sentinel is now available:
More about Stone Mountain Park:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011




NEW ORLEANS-Cherry Heering liqueur, one of the first global brands, has always been fashionable and now is the ultimate vintage cherry brandy of choice at arguably the home of the American cocktail in America’s beloved city by the bayou, New Orleans. One of the last known remaining vintage bottles of Cherry Heering liqueur from 1890 was donated at the 2011 Tales of the Cocktail from Adele Robberstad, CEO of the Xanté Company & Peter F. Heering to Dale DeGroff, President of The Museum of The American Cocktail for permanent display. Cherry Heering liqueur, the original cherry brandy, can lay claim to truly being one of the all-time classic and quality tasting brands – and has now come home to where the brand was awarded its most prestigious medal, taking the gold medal at The World Fair 1884 in New Orleans as the best liqueur.  

Cheer Heering liqueur, purveyor to H.M. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, H.M. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, has been produced since 1818 and is the original Cherry Brandy.  The Heering success comes from a willingness to be a fashion accessory that adds lavishness, extravagance and civilization to the mix.

”This is truly a big day for the Heering Family, it is more than handing over a bottle, it is closing a circle, it is coming Back to New Orleans,” said, Adele Robberstad, CEO of the Xanté Company & Peter F Heering.  The Museum of the American Cocktail is a place of honor and a perfect home for the rarest vintage of Cherry Heering.”

The historic journey began with Peter F. Heering as early as 1820 as he tried to register the Cherry brandy as a trademark. Cherry Heering liqueur was shipped from Copenhagen to New York City with the first shipment arriving in 1837.
“The Museum of the American Cocktail celebrates Peter F. Heering and Cherry Heering, quite simply, the irreplaceable cocktail ingredient,” said Dale DeGroff, President of the Museum of the American Cocktail.

The vintage bottle featured historic seals noting Cherry Heering liqueur as the puveyour to the Russian Tsar n the late 1800’s, Prince of Wales and Danish Royal family. A lineage few brands can attest.

Tailgating News:

Sunday, August 7, 2011



By Doc Lawrence

For Atlanta Braves fans, the Tomahawk Chop and the accompanying chant are permanent gifts from Deion Sanders. The best cheer in sports originated with Florida State Seminols football, where, under Coach Bobby Bowden, Deion Sanders played like few others ever have. When Sanders joined the Atlanta Braves as an outfielder in 1991, he taught fans the Chop. Alost instantly, it caught on and will be with the Braves forever.

The chop and chant have been packaged as just the Tomahawk Chop, something unique to baseball, and a signature icon of the Braves. From the beginning it had quintessential grass roots appeal: once started, it took on a life it’s own.  Even now, when the Chop cranks up, Deion is there in spirit.

I often felt like a kid when I saw Deion Sanders play football or baseball. Much of Sanders’ swagger reminds me of baseball’s immortal Satchel Paige. I keep a list of Satchel’s aphorisms on the wall and read them when I get exhausted with things out of my control
“Don't look back,” Satchel advised.Something might be gaining on you.”
After his induction into the NFL Hall of Fame, I pledged to make a list of Sanders’ sayings. The athlete who could back up his talk with success deserves a place on my wall alongside folks like Hemingway, Robert Kennedy, Stonewall Jackson, Osceola, Hunter S. Thompson and, of course, Satchel.

That Sanders now devotes much of his life to children is no surprise. I saw him during his FSU days playing with kids including my then six-year-old son, and the joy he generated was inspiring. Children love to play with their heroes.

Deion makes me laugh when even I don’t want to. He made my little boy laugh when things were tough for him. The flamboyance is still contagious. The skills are remarkable. And, I’ll let you in on a little secret: Deion doesn’t take himself very seriously.

The Braves are back in town this week and I’ll be in the stands for at least one game. The Chop will manifest each time there’s a rally. The background music driving the Chop is none other than FSU’s band, The Marching Chiefs.

The Tomahawk Chop. Thanks, Deion.

Enjoy Doc's annual series about Tailgating and contribute your recipes and photos:
 Journey through the South with Doc at

Thursday, August 4, 2011



By Doc Lawrence

ATLANTA. By midday, it was a southern scorcher, emblematic of all the dire warnings about the treachery of Dog Days. But, we didn’t stay home. Ignoring the warnings from TV weather announcers, we met for lunch across the street from the Georgia Aquarium.

Legal Seafoods, from its debut here in the flagship city of the New South, hasn’t skipped a beat in quality of menu and service. The wine list is crafted by one of the most respected wine professional on earth, the incomparable Sandy Block, a gentleman who doesn’t hide his penchant for the wines of the Loire Valley.

I was joined by friends Tom and Lisa from Tallahassee whose opinions regarding dining are valued. Although the area near the Georgia Aquarium is dotted with many fine restaurants, Legal Seafoods can always be counted on for consistency. There are no discernable fads here and management recognizes that fine dining has some universally accepted rules of order.

We enjoyed different dishes from crab cakes (no breadcrumbs at all), to swordfish (“the best I’ve eaten in years,” said my pal Tom Nelson) to my choice of lite clam chowder followed by a Boston seafood icon, Scrod. It was baked to perfection and feather light.

To enjoy the genuine Legal Seafoods gourmet experience, wines are obligatory. Sancerre, the gem from France’s Loire Valley paired with everything on our lunch menu, as would so many other white wines listed from Burgundy, Alsace and California. When the weather is burdensome, white wines rule. As they should.

Sandy Block is a Master of Wine, one of only a handful of Americans to hold this prestigious title. Block serves as Vice President of the Executive Board of Boston University’s Elizabeth Bishop Wine Resource Center, teaching advanced wine courses since 1999. He developed curriculum for Wine Studies at Boston University and taught wine-tasting courses to aspiring chefs at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. Block joined Legal Sea Foods in 2004, providing wine vision unmatched almost anywhere in the country.

Good friends, a view of the Georgia Aquarium, a memorable lunch, and attentive service all served with fine wines. That’s the Legal Seafoods experience in downtown Atlanta. It’s almost like being in Boston.

Read the Wines Down South August eNewletter: Folk Art, Tailgating, Recipes, Sangria for Bulldawgs and more: